To be completely honest with you all, this segment should be part 2.2, since I had to start writing from scratch after Saturday’s Game 6 between The Raptors and the Bucks. I never counted out the Bucks, I thought Game 6 was a recovery game for the Milwaukee team that will set them for a final showdown in their own home court. This writer was wrong. What was supposed to be a scoop about the ongoing Eastern Conference Finals game, shall turn towards a recap of what has transpired and what shall be in the finals.
Raptors Klaw Through the Finals
There must be a good reason why Kawhi opted to be traded from San Antonio Spurs. That trade definitely paid off on Saturday as the Toronto Raptors derailed the warpath of the team with the best record for the 2018-2019 season, The Milwaukee Bucks.It all started on Monday the 13th of May when Kawhi Leonard took the running buzzer-beater clutch shot from the sidelines over the 76ers star Joel Embiid. The bounce… The Bucket! The biggest shot in Toronto history, Which secured the Raptors place for the Eastern Conference Finals.The Bucks definitely felt the pressure knowing that they will be facing the extraordinary will of the hungry Raptors.
Game 1 The Bucks manage to secure the game after the Raptors blew a lead with 3 minutes left in the clock. Bucks 108- Raptors 100.
Game 2 caught momentum from game one as the Bucks dismantled the Raptors with a final score of Bucks 125 – Raptors 103.
It was starting to pan out as expected with the Bucks leading the series 2-0 over the Raptors when the Toronto team rallied On Game 3 to edge the Bucks in a thrilling double overtime game, Raptors 118- Bucks 112.
Game 4 was a defensive catastrophe for the Bucks as the Raptors bench Rises up to take the game Raptors 120- Bucks 102 tieing the series 2-2.
The Bucks was out for revenge in Game 5 as they kept a solid lead at homecourt till half time. The Raptors bounced back in the fourth as they fought hard, just to barely stop the Bucks at 105-99 Raptors take the lead in the series 3-2.
Game 6 of the series was looking much like game 5 as the Bucks kept a close lead from the Raptors till the 4th quarter. Kawhi Leonard scored a highlight-worthy Slam over Giannis that turnt the whole Scotiabank Arena into a Madhouse.Giannis returned the favor to Kawhi and got a solid block from Kawhi’s tomahawk. Yet, in the end, the Raptors took the game and the series Raptors 100- Bucks 94. Securing the first ever appearance of the Toronto Raptors to the NBA Finals stage.
Warriors: Business As Usual
You can sum up the Golden State Warriors 2018-2019 season in one phrase, “Business As Usual”. The Warriors never missed a beat during the regular season with the new addition of free agent DeMarcus Cousins in their star-studded roster. It was as if he belonged there the whole time, adapting to the unselfish team-centric Warriors play with ease.
The Warriors did the usual overwhelming first-half offensive hustles to relieve the game pressure at the second half. Kevin Durant fought off the closest games and the Splash Brothers, Klay and Steph were right there with him to nail the rainbow threes. Draymond Green kept his role with the defensive effort and the rest of the Warriors all played their positions well. Bucket for Days!
Even with the League franchise teams adapting to the Warrior’s unselfish basketball plays, designing their own ways to nullify the reigning champions ascend, the Warriors managed to get the best season record in the Western Conference with 57 wins and 25 losses. Take note that this is only the 3rd place for the whole league, trailing behind the Eastern Conference teams, Toronto Raptors, and the Milwaukee Bucks at first. Nonetheless, for the Warriors, It was still “Business As Usual”.Yes, It was business as usual for the reigning champs till the playoffs started. On the first round of the playoffs, the warriors faced the LA Clippers, and on game 2 DeMarcus Cousins suffered an injury that took him out of the Warriors’ arsenal. Cousins suffered a left leg injury as he stole the ball from the Clippers in the first quarter. Still, with Cousins out of the equation, The Warriors managed to win the series against the Clippers. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Warriors took another blow in the second round of the Playoffs against Houston Rockets. In Game 5 of the 2nd round playoff series, Kevin Durant suffered a strained right calf with 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. Leaving him incapacitated and out for recovery for the rest of the subsequent games. Or is he?
With 2 cannons out from the Guns Of Navarone, you would think that the Warriors would be in a bad place. Well think again, and to quote the words of King LeBron James about this situation. “Never Underestimate the Heart of a Champion!”. Let’s not forget how well prepared the defending champions are. As if they rehearsed this crucial scenario, the Warriors never missed a beat with Stephen Curry picking up the slack where KD left off.
The splash brothers rose to the occasion together with the Warriors ever dependable bench. Curry rallied the Warriors behind him in the fourth quarter to win against the Rockets and making 33 points all in the second half, something nostalgic like the Warriors before a KD and Cousins joined. Fluke? Luck? Nope, Just the Warrior mentality, as they also took Game 6 to shut the series down against the Rockets without 2 of their top players.
Finally hushing the critics from last year’s conference finals against the Rockets.
“They only won because Chris Paul was Injured, plus they had KD”
Nope, the KDless Warriors defeated a fully armed Rockets Team. The Warriors blitzkrieg doesn’t stop there, they swept the promising Portland Trail Blazers 4-0 to win the series and winning the Western Conference Finals.
Enter The Finals
The culmination of a season-long struggle to be the best team on the NBA has finally reached its peak. Only the strong survive the playoffs, but there can be only one NBA Champion. This magnificent season definitely showed a lot of promising talents and the teams are phenomenal in developing and evolving their own brand of basketball. This moment is for the two best teams who defied the laws of great basketball against all odds, out comes the Greatest of the West against the Greatest of the East. Each with their own stories, with their own struggles and a City they are fighting for.The Warriors great effort to end the conference finals in a sweep, couldn’t come at a better timing. This meant the team will have more time to rest, as the West Conference Finals is being fought for. This also gives more time for KD to rest and recover as he waits for the green light from the Warriors medical staff. It is confirmed that DeMarcus Cousins will be playing on Game1 of the Finals and KD just might make it soon after that. The Warriors is Back to handle their business, once again.The virgins of the Finals stage should never be underestimated as I’ve done. The Raptors are hungry and are out for blood. With Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol and Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors are in good Klaws. The Raptors are ready, and they have the whole City of Toronto behind them.Are you amped up for this Finals? Get ready to be on your feet as you witness the best teams that professional basketball has to offer. I will be there watching with you on Thursday, May 30th. Stay tuned to Pinas Balita sports as we dive into every pivotal point of this NBA Finals series. Thank You! and See you in Game 1!
Part 1:CLICK HERE